Do airline loyalty programmes work?

Do airline loyalty programmes work? (ramon peco on flickr)

According to Dr Andreas Liebrich of the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts they don't work and: “People don’t like loyalty programmes.” Consumers do not highly rate loyalty programmes for airlines or hotels and according to the research, "do little to generate emotional attachment."

The results come from a study of online travel bookers in the UK, Germany and the US.

In the UK 19% of like points programmes with a similar result in Germany.

The US had a higher rate of 45% but again the majority did not like loyalty points programmes.

Liebrich instead found "cognitive loyalty" where a majority in each market made repeat bookings to a favoured brand.

Not only have loyalty programmes been questioned here, but so has the use of social media in developing brand loyalty. Good service, low prices and a trustworthy brand came ahead of social media recommendations.

An important point was made by Aviva Pearson of Simpleview- US destination marketing consultancy- that we need individual loyalty but with 1.8 billion loyalty programmes, that's difficult to generate.

What are your thoughts? Are loyalty programmes a waste of time? Are we wasting energy and effort put in to social media? I know there's some people who would definitely disagree with this. Let me know your thoughts on Liebrich's findings.

AirXperience 2013 will further discuss the passenger experience for airlines, airports and their partners, looking at brand development and loyalty in customers. Click here to find out more about attending.

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